Pelicans Rumors: Boston likely front-runner for Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis New Orleans Pelicans (Photo By Christopher Evans/Digital First Media/Boston Herald via Getty Images)
Anthony Davis New Orleans Pelicans (Photo By Christopher Evans/Digital First Media/Boston Herald via Getty Images) /

Recent Pelicans rumors have clearly linked a possible deal to send Jayson Tatum to New Orleans. At this point in the Anthony Davis trade process, it would be shocking if the New Orleans Pelicans make a deal before Boston can jump into the ring this summer.

We are rapidly approaching the NBA trade deadline this afternoon, and the Pelicans rumors have not slowed down a bit. Reports throughout the day on Wednesday made it clear that the New Orleans Pelicans will almost certainly not strike a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers by the 3 PM Eastern Time deadline.

It’s been obvious over the last couple of days that the Pelicans have little to no interest in dealing with the Lakers right now, and they are the only team that seems to be active in trying to secure an Anthony Davis trade by the end of the day. Assuming no other trade partners pop up by this afternoon, this pushes the Anthony Davis trade discussion to the offseason.

The Boston Celtics are in hot pursuit of making a deal for Davis, but they can’t trade for him until this coming summer. However, according to reports yesterday, the Celtics have already made it clear to New Orleans that they could be willing to send the Pelicans exactly the type of piece they want in return.

It’s no secret that Jayson Tatum is one of the most promising players under 21 in the entire NBA. He’s still on his rookie deal, so the Pelicans would be able to keep him around for many more years to come, as they’d be able to match (and exceed) any contract offer he would receive from any competing teams in his restricted free agency in 2021-2022.

Securing a guy like Tatum for the foreseeable future is paramount for a smaller market team like the New Orleans Pelicans that often times has a difficult time luring high-profile free agents to the organization. Tatum already led the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals a season ago and has shown the maturity and work ethic to be the face of a franchise.

The Lakers, on the other hand, have some talented young players in the packages they’ve been rumored to offer New Orleans, but none of them even come close to possessing the potential that Jayson Tatum has already exhibited for a season and half at this point. The Celtics also have better draft pick assets to offer up. With Boston already understanding the Pelicans will absolutely request Tatum in negotiations, the fact that they’re still so interested in making a move for Anthony Davis confirms that Tatum is definitely on the table.

Even the Knicks, who could end up with the #1 overall pick in the 2019 draft, can’t guarantee that the top pick (likely Zion Williamson) will be as promising as Jayson Tatum. New York, in theory, could be willing to part with more assets to acquire Davis since AD has listed them as one of his top choices of destinations, but more might not equal better in this particular instance with Tatum’s sky high ceiling.

There’s a very small chance another team (like the Clippers) can pick up the phone and throw the New Orleans Pelicans a decent offer today, but with how leaky the information has been in this entire situation, it seems there are currently no other teams making serious bids to get a deal done by the deadline outside of the Lakers. All of this lines up to point to the New Orleans Pelicans going all-in on Jayson Tatum as soon as they can this summer.

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If the New Orleans Pelicans do, in fact, end up hanging onto Anthony Davis into the offseason, Pelican Debrief will keep you in the loop every step of the way.